IL DNR says dead fish at Lock & Dam 21 is to be expected

A series of dead fish at the Quincy Lock & Dam 21 (KHQA/Marcus Espinoza).

Some 40 dead fish have washed up at the shores of the Quincy Lock & Dam 21 over the past couple of weeks, causing concern for some residents.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says while the sight of dozens of dead fish can be alarming, it's actually fairly normal during this time of year.

"It appeared to our biologist to be winter kill. It's a fairly common thing to happen with the cold temps we had in the last couple weeks," said Rob Maher, a biologist with the IL DNR.

He says it is a form of natural selection, the fish that can adapt to the sudden changes in temperature are the ones that make it out alive, therefore producing further off spring that are stronger.

While 40 may sound like a lot of dead fish at once, Maher says it's a fairly small amount for a body of water the size of the Mississippi River.

As far as the safety of the other animals in the area, such as raccoon and eagles, he says the fish appear to be safe to eat and there is no concern about a bacteria in the water.

If you spot an unusual amount of dead fish washing up while you're watching eagles or exploring outdoors, contact your local DNR.

You can also reach KHQA at if you're concerned about a certain area that you want investigated.

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